Figure 1: Dürer Three Genii
1.1 Not a party invitation
If things were back to normal, we would be planning our holiday party,
which has in recent years been on January 1. This year we can’t do
that, both because people don’t want to party with any large number of
people, and because I don’t at this point have a house to invite
The good news is that we have hired a contractor to put the building
back together after the fire last summer, and it is likely that I will
be back in my home by late Spring, or early Summer. The contract says
the work will be substantially complete by May 1, but of course
there’s lots of language about things beyond the contractor’s control,
so that’s likely the most optimistic date
More global good news is that there are vaccines, and it’s likely that
by then some of us will have them and will be more comfortable getting
together than we are now.
I had discussed having a zoom party on New Year’s Day with a couple of
people, but since you can’t eat, drink, sing, or play over Zoom, I
decided it wouldn’t be a very good party, so I suggest we use other
means to keep in touch. And plan for a good housewarming party when
plague restrictions allow, and there is a house to warm.
1.2 My Update
Since the fire, I’ve been living in Fall River with my sister Judy (and her
dog Orion and my dog Maia). It’s a better living situation than most
homeless refugees have, and I have friends in Arlington who are
willing to put me up when I have to be in Cambridge earlier and/or
later than I want to drive to or from Fall River.
Musically, I probably have it better than I would if I were in
Cambridge. Her group (The Delight Consort) met in her backyard all summer, and performed in
the churchyard at the church where she’s the music minister in
September. Since it got too cold and wet to meet outdoors, we’ve been
meeting in the church gym. We have a collection of music about the
17th century plague in England, and we’ve been playing a lot of
I’m also playing with a group that meets on Jamulus. It doesn’t work
for everything, but a lot of the loud wind repertoire is actually
quite satisfying. The latency problem isn’t completely gone, but you
do really feel like you’re playing with people, and you can listen to
them and they listen to you. Unfortunately, it’s a bit finicky about
who can use it, and neither of the people from the Cantabile group
I’ve discussed it with have suitable hardware.
I bought a new (to me) cornetto, at A493 by Paolo Fanciullacci. It’s
in cedar wood, so in addition to sounding good and having an easier
stretch than a 440 cornetto, it also smells wonderful. A493 is pretty
close to B at A440, so I have actually learned to play in sharp keys
with people who are playing A440 instruments.
The new cornetto is more fun to practice, since there aren’t as many
notes that need heroic lip effort to get into tune. I also discovered
last Spring that vocalizing is a good pre-warmup for the cornetto
warmup exercises, so my singing is generally improving a bit.
The serpent really misses the West Gallery Quire, but the Delights do
let me play serpent some of the time. The geometry of this house
doesn’t make it easy to get the three serpent case around the corners,
so I usually bring only the carbon fiber serpent that just travels in
a bag. I am getting better on it than I used to be.
I don’t have a desk in this room, so music transcription is not really
an option, although I did take some Lilypond code from someone else’s
site and turn it into unbarred parts for the jamulus group. It wasn’t
a total success. I certainly felt more comfortable playing from a
two-page part than from a 5-page score, and having the notation not
get in the way of the phrasing, but other people sounded like they
were spending as much time putting the barlines back as I had spent taking
In non-musical news, I spend a lot of time on condo business. The
board we elected in May thinking we might need to clean some vents and
look into the front steps again turned out not to be the right people
for a million-dollar construction project. So I’m currently the
president. (Not that I’m who anyone would pick to manage a
million-dollar construction project, but I know some things about how
to find the people who are and how to get along with them for a few
months. And I have more time than the previous president, who has
both a full-time job and a new baby.) It might get easier now that
we’ve finally hired a contractor.
Figure 2: The lace pattern as it’s turning out in my yarn
I’m also knitting a Mood Cardigan. It’s a nice repetitive lace
pattern that you can do while watching tv.
1.3 Your Updates
If you’ve been doing anything you want us to know about, we’d like to
hear about it.
I’m happy to talk on the phone, or organize small zoom groups.
If you want to play duets, or larger groups, and you have the right
kind of computer to run Jamulus, that would be fun. It has to be a
fairly recent OS. I haven’t had much luck with Linux (for my laptop,
it works, but is too noisy to bother with), but there are people in
our group on both Windows and MacOS. In terms of the connection, the
important thing seems to be having an ethernet connection to the
internet, and not a WIFI one. The speed of the computer or the
connection doesn’t seem to matter much.
If you want to give the group an update on what you’re doing, you can
respond by email to this message, or comment on the wordpress post or
the facebook post. I don’t approve of using facebook, but I have to
admit that my experience is that you’re more likely to get responses
that way than the other ways.
Created: 2020-12-29 Tue 12:39